NYMC Faculty Publications

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

9-1-2017

Department

Medicine

Abstract

Background and Aims: A visual analogue score (VAS), based on application of a visual analogue scale, has been widely used to assess pruritus in clinical studies of patients with cholestatic liver disease. A VAS is a numerical score of the severity of the perception of pruritus, and, hence, is inherently subjective. The objective of this study was to assess the reliability of a VAS as an index of pruritus in cholestatic patients. Methods: In 8 patients with chronic pruritus due to primary biliary cholangitis, values for a VAS of pruritus were compared with corresponding measurements of scratching activity, which were generated by a monitoring system specifically designed to quantitate this activity. The relationship between individual values for the VAS and corresponding values for scratching activity during a specific interval immediately preceding the recording of the VAS was examined by determining the Spearman's rank correlation coefficient. Results: The mean Spearman's rank correlation coefficient between individual values for the VAS and corresponding mean values for scratching activity was 0.072; the range of these coefficients was -0.04 to 0.26. A VAS of pruritus is an unreliable index of scratching activity, and, hence, of the pathophysiological process responsible for the pruritus of cholestasis. Conclusions: It is concluded that the use of a VAS as a primary quantitative endpoint in trials of the efficacy of potential therapies for the pruritus of cholestasis may be inappropriate.

Publisher's Statement

Originally published in Journal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology 2017;5(3):203-207. The original material can be found here.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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